At their next meeting, the Harrodsburg City Commission will hear public comments on a proposed text amendment which would allow drug rehabilitation clinics as a conditional use in city limits.
On May 11, the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommended the amendment, which would allow hospitals, clinics and similar medical facilities, mental health facilities, nursing homes, convalescent homes, rest homes, orphanages, rehabilitation homes, assisted living homes, family care centers/providers, day care providers and homeless shelters as a conditional use in I-2 (heavy industrial) zoning districts in the city. In the county, such conditional uses are already permitted.
While similar proposals have led to standing room only meetings, only three people spoke at the planning and zoning commission public hearing. Two of them-Mark LaPalme of Isaiah House and Tobie Reeser Sherrow, who administers the Mercer County Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program-spoke for the amendment. Esther Hayslett, the director of pupil personnel for Mercer County schools, said she had questions. Hayslett said Mercer County Senior High School would be in close vicinity to the location where, if the city approved, Isaiah House would locate its corporate headquarters as well as treatment facility. She said school officials didn’t want people trespassing on school property.
“We just have questions,” Hayslett said.
Isaiah House already operates a 16-bed treatment facility for women on Bohon Road. Two years ago, plans to expand operations in Mercer County failed after residents expressed concerns with how Isaiah House handles clients who walk away from the treatment center. In February 2019, a female client began knocking on neighbors’ doors, asking to use the phone. While Isaiah House officials said they had revised procedures to arrange transportation for clients who wish to leave treatment, the Mercer County Board of Adjustments failed to pass a conditional use permit for a second 16-bed facility on Bohon Road.
Isaiah House seeks to use the former Trim Masters building as corporate headquarters and would also operate a women’s treatment facility in the basement, if they can get permission from the city.
Treatment centers are currently not allowed in Harrodsburg. It the text amendment is approved, applicants would have to appear before the board of adjustments on a case by case basis.
The Harrodsburg City Commission will give second reading to the text amendment at their next meeting on Monday, June 14, at 6 p.m. Last week’s story gave the incorrect date for the meeting.